World, Middle East

Pakistan shuts down US-funded radio station

Closure follows instructions by premier spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence

Pakistan shuts down US-funded radio station

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Friday shut down a U.S.-funded radio station for allegedly airing anti-Pakistan propaganda, the Interior Ministry said.

Radio Mashaal, a sister organization of Radio Free Europe, operated from Czech Republic's capital Prague, was shut down by the premier spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for airing content against the "interests of Pakistan and in line with the hostile agency's agenda", according to a notification, a copy of which is available with Anadolu Agency.

The statement did not specify what the "hostile agency" referred to.

It added that the radio channel, which was mainly operating in the northwestern tribal region along Afghanistan, was portraying that the local Pashtun population was disappointed with the state.

A journalist associated with the radio station told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal that all his colleagues had vacated their offices in Islamabad and Peshawar cities.

Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have deteriorated after U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office last year, mainly because of a clash of interests in war-torn Afghanistan.

On Jan. 1 Trump in a tweet accused Pakistan of playing a "double game" and providing sanctuaries to Taliban factions fighting American troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The tweet was followed by an aid cut which escalated tensions between the two allies in the U.S.-led war on terror.

*Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Islamabad.

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